Master of Social Work

Program Credits and Length

The Master of Social Work program is a 62-credit degree program that can be completed full time in two years or part time in three to four years. Students have a sense of community with colleagues and faculty. Faculty of various expertise get to know students and are invested in student success.

What to Expect - Course Requirements by Year

First Year

In the foundation year, students take:

  • 2 direct practice courses
  • 2 policy and organizing courses
  • 2 human behavior courses
  • 1 research course
  • 1 data analysis course

Second Year

In the advanced year, students choose a concentration in either clinical practice or macro practice.

Additional Requirements

Students also complete:

  • 3 required practice courses
  • 3 electives
  • 1 professional development course
  • 2 advanced research courses

Moreover, in both foundation and advanced years, students complete a required field internship. (Many students opt to take electives during Summer Session or early spring to lighten their course load in the final year of graduate study.)



If you're looking for a career where you can truly impact lives, then get started now!

Choose RIC's MSW for the Outcomes and Experiences

With an M.S.W. from RIC you are highly marketable, and we have connections with over 500 agencies across Rhode Island and Southern New England.

Flexible options include hybrid, night and weekend classes for busy/working students.
Invested faculty, peer encouragement, and in-person options give you a strong community.
Students are guided toward tuition support and access to various grant programs.

Our Faculty

Admissions Process

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Master of Social Work program is on a selective basis and is determined by the quality of the total application. Certain admission requirements may be waived under special circumstances if the applicant demonstrates sufficient cause.

General Requirements

Students must:

  • have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education (Students who have completed all but their last semester of baccalaureate work may also apply.)
  • show evidence of the intellectual capacity to participate successfully in academic work at the graduate level
  • have a diverse, liberal arts academic background that includes coursework in the human biological sciences, social sciences, humanities and mathematics

Specific Academic Requirements

An applicant must have: 

  • a minimum GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale in undergraduate coursework
  • at least 15 credit hours drawn from coursework in psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics and political science
  • coursework in human biology
  • coursework in the humanities (English, visual and performing arts, philosophy, language and Western and non-Western history)

Required Qualities and Experience

Applicants must:

  • show evidence of a combination of personal qualities considered essential to professional social work practice, such as responsiveness and sensitivity in relationships, commitment to improving social conditions and the ability to function both independently and collectively with others
  • demonstrate a commitment to social work as a profession based in part on personal experience in the field (This experience may have been attained in a variety of ways, such as through volunteer work, fieldwork experience in conjunction with course work, life experiences, etc.)


It can take up to six weeks to receive your transcripts, so please order them early. It is the responsibility of the applicant to upload transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate programs previously attended, including community colleges, to the online application. Even if the student transferred to RIC or to another college, transcripts must be requested from the previous college. Please order your transcripts from all schools, scan your transcripts, and upload them to the online application. Each transcript must be in one separate file. After you scan and upload your transcripts, mail your official transcripts to:

Rhode Island College
School of Social Work
600 Mt. Pleasant Avenue
Providence, Rhode Island 02908

Letters of Recommendation

Please ask individuals to write letters of reference for you. Once an individual has agreed to write a letter of reference, provide that individual's email address to the College Net application. Suggested references include a professional social worker, a professor, and an employer, all of whom are familiar with your work.

Personal Statement

Qualifications to Demonstrate

The personal statement should be six to eight double-spaced pages aimed at aiding the Admission Committee in assessing your qualifications for social work practice. Among these qualifications are:

  • the ability to think analytically and conceptually
  • clarity in self-expression
  • responsiveness and sensitivity in minority and culturally diverse relationships
  • the ability to develop professional self-awareness and self-evaluation
  • commitment to improving social conditions
  • the ability to function creatively, responsibly and independently 

What to Address and Answer

  • Tell us how your life experience have influenced your decision to pursue social work as a career.
  • Social justice is a key component of social work's mission. What social justice issues are important to you? Why?
  • What experience have you had with oppressed populations (racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, persons with disabilities, etc.)? How has that experience influenced you and  your decision to pursue social work?
  • What do you see as your personal strengths and challenges as a professional social worker?
  • Graduate social work education requires sophisticated writing and critical thinking skills. Discuss the reasons why you believe you will be able to meet the academic requirements of a rigorous graduate program? Include evidence that indicates you are able to do graduate-level academic work successfully.
  • If your grade point average is below 3.0, please discuss.
  • If there are any gaps in your work history or short-term positions, please explain.

Program Options

Full-Time Program

To achieve full-time status in either year, a student must register for field instruction and at least three courses each semester. Students who are admitted full time are expected to complete the program in two years. This would require that students register for 15 credits in their first semester, 14 credits in their second, 17.5 credits in their third and 15.5 credits in their fourth. Students are encouraged to take at least one summer or early spring course to ease the third semester workload.

Part-Time Students

Applicants who intend to retain full-time employment while attending the M.S.W. program or who have significant responsibilities in other areas should apply to the part-time program. Admission requirements and procedures are the same as those for full-time study. Part-time students are normally expected to take a minimum of two courses during the academic year. A field placement will occur in a public or private nonprofit agency after the completion of 11 credit hours of coursework. Degree requirements must be met within four years. At the discretion of the M.S.W. chair, students may switch from part-time to full-time study after completing the foundation year on a part-time basis.

Advanced Standing Students

Preference in admission to advanced standing is given to students who have completed a B.S.W. during the last five years from a program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. All students accepted into this program are expected to enroll in and successfully complete an online summer preparatory course. Advanced standing students should expect to pay $375 to participate in this class.

Applicants who obtained a B.S.W. degree more than five years prior to their application year can still apply to the Advanced Standing Program.

Students who are granted admission to advanced standing are exempt from the foundation year, pending completion of comparable course work. Students in the program must complete 33 credit hours and may do so in one or two years.

MSW Course Requirements

MSW Course Descriptions

Financial Aid

To be considered for any financial aid administered through the college, prospective students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It is very important that the completed form be submitted to the federal processing center by May 15. Applicants are encouraged to complete this form as soon as possible. No student can be considered for aid through the college until the college has received the results from the student’s FAFSA.

The School of Social Work actively seeks funds for tuition assistance. There are a limited number of graduate student traineeships. These traineeships are available only to full-time students and carry a full tuition waiver in return for 10 hours per week of work at the School of Social Work. The traineeships are for one year only. Recipients of traineeships in their first year must reapply for the second year. Please contact the school for information and an application. Applications are available after April 1 and are sent with letters of acceptance to all students accepted into the full-time program. 

Other forms of financial aid include M.S.W. scholarships and research and graduate assistantships. Students are also advised to contact the Office of Student Financial Aid at 401-456-8033 about educational loans, federal work study and college-administered aid.

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MSW Resources and Forms

Rhode Island College entrance
Aswood Bousseau

Dr. Aswood Bousseau

Associate Professor